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Is "deem" punctual or stative? Does this verb express a momentous action or a state of being?

I was taught that "when" goes along well with punctual verbs, while "after" goes well with stative ones. For example,

When he was able to crack the Trident code, that was [quickly, right away, immediately] deemed by many as his major achievement in his deciphering career. (punctual, the action of deeming took place almost momentously)

After he was able to crack the Trident code, that was deemed by many [for many years after that, in the following years] as his major achievement in his deciphering career. (stative, the action of deeming was lasting for a long period of time after that point)

So, should I use "when" or "after"? In other words is "deem" here expressing a momentous action or a lasting state?

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  • deem=considered, to be deemed, to be considered. HIs cracking the code was deemed to be or considered to be. Same thing.
    – Lambie
    Jun 30 '19 at 19:46
  • @Lambie: Is "was considered" punctual or stative? (Please, check my edits in my question examples)
    – brilliant
    Jun 30 '19 at 19:48
  • Basically, you are asking for editing. You can look up examples on the internet. deem is usually used in contracts or very formal writing. I don't know what punctual means. You mean: momentary action, not momentous. :) However, I suspect you speak a Romance language where ponctuel/al means once off or from time to time.
    – Lambie
    Jun 30 '19 at 20:14
  • You are presenting a false choice. Either when or after can be used. (Depending on more context than is presented here.) However, you should not be using that after a comma. Either remove the comma or replace that with which. Jun 30 '19 at 20:52
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    @JasonBassford - "However, you should not be using that after a comma" - Are you sure about that? "That" in my sentence is a reference to the fact/event/act described in the sentence before the comma. In other words, the meaning is this: he performed a great act of breaking the code - it was this act of his that was deemed by many as his greatest achievement. Removing the comma or replacing that with which will change the meaning and render my sentence incomplete.
    – brilliant
    Jun 30 '19 at 22:59
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To answer your primary question: "Deem" is a stative verb. It represents an opinion of someone at some particular point in time. Although that opinion may continue to be valid, we do not say that someone continues to deem [somebody] to be [some characteristic]. You "deem" once, and then you are done "deeming".

That being said, I don't see a reason why this should matter whether you use "when" or "after". Either may be used:

When/After he cracked the code, experts deemed him to be a genius

The main problem with your sentence is that it is confusing. It seems you wants some achievement to be the subject, but you write the sentence with the person himself as the subject. You have to match the subject to the characteristic.

I would instead start with a gerund phrase, and avoid the when/after issue entirely:

Cracking the Trident code was [quickly, right away, immediately] deemed by many as the major achievement of his career.

Otherwise, if he himself is the subject, then he has to be deemed some characteristic that can be ascribed to a person.

Soon after he cracked the code, he was deemed by many to be the preeminent expert on decryption techniques.

Other notes:

  1. Avoid unnecessary adverbs. Unless it's really important to mention how rapidly he was deemed", there is no need to include "quickly" or "immediately" in your writing, especially in the middle of the verb. If you must include it, put it at the start of the sentence (as in my use of "soon" above).

  2. I'm not sure if "deciphering" is the right term to describe a career, or rather, the general field already has the name cryptology. Someone who works in cryptology ciphers/deciphers, or encrypts/decrypts, on a regular basis.

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  • It seems you wants some achievement to be the subject, but you write the sentence with the person himself as the subject. You have to match the subject to the characteristic - Can you, please, tell me if the following sentence is also confusing: "When the USSR sent first man into space in April 1962, that was considered by many as the first big achievement of the Socialist system"
    – brilliant
    Jul 1 '19 at 0:07
  • You have to match the subject to the characteristic - Here is one line from the Beatles song "That means a lot" (thebeatles.com/song/means-lot): "When she says she loves you that means a lot" Here the subject (the act of saying) is not matched to the characteristic either. So, does that line from the song also sound confusing?
    – brilliant
    Jul 1 '19 at 6:00
  • @brilliant The act of "sending a man" into space is considered a "brilliant achievement". Nothing wrong there. Similarly, the act of "saying she loves you" means a lot (to you). Again, nothing wrong. You're matching subject to characteristic. But it would be just as valid to make it about the person, if you wanted: "The first man the USSR sent into space was considered a great hero" , "She who says she loves you, means a lot to you"
    – Andrew
    Jul 1 '19 at 15:57
  • So, just to make things clear, you are saying that there is nothing confusing in "When the USSR sent first man into space in April 1962, that was considered by many as the first big achievement of the Socialist system.", and there is nothing confusing in "When she says she loves you that means a lot.", right?
    – brilliant
    Jul 1 '19 at 16:42

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